Kennedys strengthens professional liability practice with hire of four-strong team from DWF


Global law firm Kennedys has enhanced its professional liability capabilities with the appointment of a four-strong professional indemnity (PI) team to its Birmingham office.

The team of lawyers, joining from DWF, comprises two partners, Paul Chaplin and Steve Oates, and two associates, Eliza Kwok and Scott Lawton.

Paul is one of Birmingham’s pre-eminent PI lawyers and headed the Birmingham PI team at DWF prior to joining Kennedys. He specialises in defending claims against professional entities and their insurers on behalf of solicitors, financial services providers, accountants, construction professionals and brokers. He brings experience of defending claims to trial and subsequent appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court; as well as dispute resolution expertise, including mediation and arbitration. This includes resolution of disputes before the Financial Ombudsman and Pensions Ombudsman.

Upon qualifying as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 1992, Paul became one of the first chartered legal executive partners in the country.

Steve has worked alongside Paul for over a decade and focuses on defending lawyers, construction/property professionals, insurance brokers and expert witnesses. He also advises on policy coverage/disputes as well as drafting and advising on construction and commercial contracts, with experience in litigation, arbitration and adjudication. Steve also advises on directors’ and officers’ coverage and the defence of these matters. He is also qualified in the Republic of Ireland.

Nick Thomas, Senior Partner at Kennedys, says:

“This is another significant strategic move for Kennedys, bringing in a market-leading team to further strengthen our regional offering to insurer clients. I welcome Paul, Steve, Eliza and Scott and I am confident they will enjoy every success with Kennedys.”

Eamon Mooney, who leads Kennedys’ Birmingham insurance practice, says:

“I am delighted to welcome Paul, Steve and their team, having known Paul and Steve for quite some time at DWF and prior to that at Triton Global. Their collective experience is a natural fit for Kennedys and will significantly enhance our existing capabilities, making us an even more powerful professional indemnity team, both in the UK and the Midlands itself.”

Paul Chaplin adds:

“Few firms enjoy the local, national and international reach of Kennedys. Their excellent reputation meant joining was a highly appealing choice for me and my team. Already a leading player in the market, our ambition is to make Kennedys the number one firm for insurance work both regionally and nationally.”

In the last two months Kennedys has significantly strengthened its global insurance practice with the arrival of a 12-strong market-leading team from Norton Rose Fulbright, which boosted its marine and energy capabilities, and the addition of Maurice Pesso and Greg Steinberg as partners to their New Jersey and New York offices, respectively, strengthened their global financial lines practice.

In June, Kennedys reported record turnover of £217m for the financial year 2017/18, representing a 12% increase on the previous financial year (£193m) and is the first time the firm’s revenue has topped £200m. The growth was supported by a 7% increase in the number of fee-earners worldwide, with the firm’s total headcount exceeding 2,000 for the first time in its history.

This continued growth has led to the appointment of Suzanne Liversidge as Kennedys’ first ever global managing partner, which was announced two weeks ago.

Kennedys’ Birmingham office specialises in all lines of insurance defendant work, including employers’ liability, public liability, motor, property, professional indemnity and also medical malpractice defendant claims for healthcare providers. It is its fifth largest in the UK and now has 11 partners and 50 other fee-earners. It opened in 2008.